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  CSPAN    Washington Journal    News/Business. Live morning call-in program with  
   government officials, political leaders, and journalists.  

    February 11, 2013
    7:00 - 10:00am EST  

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host: spencer are you there? caller: hello? host: you are on the air. go ahead, what is your comment on this? caller: on what? host: we are talking spending cuts and tax increases. caller: what about the income tax in this country? the 14th, 15th, and 16th amendment talks of this. the income tax is clearly
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illegal. there is no law whatsoever to state that we are supposed to pay this. all of these taxes are clearly taxation without representation. this is where we came from. where are we going? we are going nowhere. host: denise, democratic caller. go ahead. caller: i'm a little nervous. i think it should be both. we should look at tax loopholes and also we are talking about welfare and medicare and medicaid and social security. i think we should look at the subsidies of the companies. i think we stop subsidizing the oil companies, if i am correct,
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that is billions of dollars we are giving them. if we stop subsidizing the oil companies then we will be able to handle the taxes. we will leave it there. shame is joining us on the phone. he is the congressional correspondent of "national journal." let us begin with what is being alleged against the senator. at its core this is just about new jersey senator bob addendas and his relationship with donors. melgen is a long time donor.
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there were allegations that menendez, on trips, solicited prostitution from melgen at his home. there have been other issues, including that he took flights with melgen. he had admitted he took flights there. "the new york times," and "the washington post," have been investigating this matter.
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he owns a company that would provide extra machines to look at cargo moving through ports. host: is this a possible criminal investigation or ethical from congress? what is happening? caller: it is not clear which direction it is going. on the ethical side, the ethics committee is apparently looking at this case. what senator menendez has admitted is he is not paying for flights he took to the dominican republic. that is a pretty expensive set of lights. he is a senator who is middle- class compared to other people. if you look at all the money in his bank account and stocks that he owns, it -- to pay back his
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flights would be 32% to 83% of his wealth. the fbi raided his offices of his eye doctor in florida about a week and a half ago. almost two weeks ago. it was apparently related to medicare inquiries. the fbi is looking at this eye doctor, whether he overbuild patience for services. -- over-billed patients for services. host: who is making these charges against the senator. how has he responded? caller: there is no truth to any of the allegations other than the flights. he said he did not intervene
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with any of these cases in terms of helping. he told univision that nobody has bought him. he has denied allegations of prostitution. basically denying any improper actions except accepting flights. host: what happens next and when? caller: a lot of us are grooving on simultaneous tracks. the media will look into what with thisionship was an donor. there is no solid evidence of those allegations.
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that adds to the intrigue of the story across the country. there are these three moving parts, medicare, ports, and prostitution. the fbi is involved in some kind of investigation with this donor. some sources have told us "the washington post" investigation is focused on medicaid and medicare. host: is there a time line or a date with what is happening with this and the guy investigation? -- with this fbi investigation? caller: unfortunately there are no dates. jesse jackson jr. was settling
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that case this week. literally dragged on for several years. the move at their place and aren't pushed on by any public pressure. it moves slowly. host: shane goldmacher, congressional correspondent with "the national journal." an update about senator bob addendas and allegations against him, which he has denied. back to our questions for all of you this morning. spending cuts versus tax increases sequestration. what do you think? a republican collar -- caller: i grew up first- generation american. my father worked two jobs.
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my parents had to pay for everything on their own. they never got a penny from the government, never even asked for it. let me say that i think america has become a country where we want the easy way out on everything. i would suggest that most people in this country have not worked with or in the federal government to actually see how representatives and our representatives in the white house -- and our members and the white house to use that money. it is unbelievable how much money is wasted in this federal government. point number two is that i say to my democratic friends, if you want to pay more taxes you are more than willing and able to do so. there are a group of people that want to pay more taxes, let them pay more taxes. anyone can go ahead and send
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more money into the government. maybe that will help our system. most families have the budget, but the government doesn't understand the budget. host: for you, no new taxes'? and you think republicans should hold the line on that even if it means these automatic spending cuts go through on march 1? caller: yes i do. i think they should go through. the congress has had three or four years to deal with this. i kept my children to see the special committee that bowles and simpson were a part of. the members of that senate had a chance to do something and they did not. my husband works every day to make sure he does the right thing. he doesn't get paid, he gets fired.
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every single time to have a chance to come to an agreement, and that includes the president to reject host: how old are your children? caller: they were 14 and 12 at the time. host: what you hoping they would get out of it? caller: just to see the display and the cameras and the people and the way the members -- how important they all think this issue is. i had to show them and point out to them -- and they did read the newspaper -- people who have jobs and should be responsible should come up worse -- should come up with solutions, and they didn't. you need to be responsible. you need to finish a job. you need to be responsible for your community.
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i think sequester should go through. we have had many opportunities to deal with this problem. host: senator lindsay gramm, senator of south carolina, is to block two nominees. he will hold up defense secretary john brennan as the head of cia unless he gets more answers on benghazi. here is what he had to say yesterday. [video clip] >> did the president ever pick up the phone and call anyone in the government to help these folks? what the the president do? we know he talked to the israeli prime minister on september 11 about a gust of the democratic platform and the fact he did not need the prime minister of
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israel when he came to new york. but that is not related. what did he do that night? the american people need to know. >> i am not sure i understand, what do you plan to do if they do not give you an answer? are you going to put a hold on these nominations? >> yes, i am going to ask my colleagues. no confirmation without information. host: senator lindsay gramm on face the nation yesterday. our coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern time tomorrow night. if you go to our facebook page, we have this for all of you. if you are low -- if you are planning on watching president obama will deliver the state of the union tomorrow, we will have full coverage of the president
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and the gop response. you can post your thoughts on our facebook page. on marker rubio giving the response for the republicans, here is the washington times below the fold this morning. here is a " -- that is "the washington times," on senator markhor rubio." let me show you two different takes on the economy here in the
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papers this morning. "u.s. a today," according to a survey -- two different perspectives on the economy this morning. we are talking about sequestration, march 1 is the deadline for congress and the president to come up with something to avoid sequestration.
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kevin, an independent scholar, what do you think? democrats want tax increases. caller: i think they should cut the medicaid and medicare. the president has to realize he had senior citizens with fixed income and they depend on medicare and medicaid to help with their medical bills. i agree with the caller from ohio. the economy is tough already. what happens if they did not come into the station on march 1. what happens then? host: margie, a democratic caller. go-ahead. caller: i do not believe in all
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of the spending we are doing. that scares me because there are so many people that -- >> as far as medicare. we have to do something.
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caller: we have a problem giving
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sompeople somethign they don't deserve. host: a director from the cia --
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caller: everything our federal government has subsidized, our prices went through the roof. anybody knows you cannot spend more than you take in. that is an impossibility. they either have to do spending cuts or they have to increase the taxes at some point. for mitt romney and his 47%, that 47% pace sales tax, a gasoline taxes, they pay all kinds of taxes they never bother to tell anybody about.
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host: on the domestic front, this is an "and associated press," story. a growing number of republican governors are now buying into parts of the system as the financial realities of their state medical costs begin to pass it did begin to counterbalance the politics of the issue. 11 governors have rejected the issue while a dozen, who have been critical, have not announced and a decision. that is the decision to expand medicaid. a lot of republican governors have agreed to the medicaid expansion program. adam rich, louisiana. a democratic caller,. caller: it is a major problem that calls for spending cuts.
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it exacerbates our fundamental problem, which is too much concentration. too few have too much and too many have too little. 2% of the population can not possibly spend as much as the other 98%, or in at least demand as much. i am -- our middle-class has been strengthened not only in size but in share of our wealth. as long as that has happened, we are not going to have enough goods and services to justify businesses from expanding. further cuts is going to bring
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further demands for reduced services. host: we will leave it there. coming up next we are going to switch gears and talk about the politics of gun control and immigration reform with amy walkter -- amy walter. that will be coming up after this quick break. >> given the breadth of products we have, televisions, computers, appliances, one of the imf -- one of the areas we are investing a lot in is multi- screen the connectivity. you are texted on your phone,
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looking on the internet on your tablets. how do we link those devices to each other? and how to be linked them to the internet? we launched the camera. a camera built in with three g connectivity. you can the upload them instantly through the wireless network to a website or social media service. linkin products to the internet and each other, that is a big opportunity for us. >> the future of consumer technology from this year's consumer electronics show. tonight at 8:00 eastern. >> having observed a steady improvement in the opportunities
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and well-being of our citizens i can report to you the state of this union is good. >> once again in keeping with time honored tradition as i come to report on the state of the union. i am pleased to report that america is much improved. there is good reason to believe improvement will continue in the days to come. >> my duty tonight is to report on the state of the union. not the state of our government, but of our american community. and to set forth our responsibilities, in the words of our founders, to form a more perfect union. the state of the union is strong. >> as we gather tonight, our nation is at war. our economy is in recession. and our civilized world faces unprecedented dangers. yet the state of our union has
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never been stronger. >> it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong. >> tuesday, president obama delivers this year's address. followed by the gop response and your reaction. the state of the union, tuesday night on c-span, c-span radio, and c-span.org. "washington journal," continues. host: we are back with amy walter. we are talking about the politics and immigration reform. let us just begin with the landscape for 2014 and how that will impact us to take over those two issues. what are the dynamics of 2014?
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guest: we start with gun control. if you look at the makeup of the house, it is really the senate where the issue is going to play out. where concerns of democrats who sit in bread states, are they going to limit the ability to get more sweeping changes passed like an assault weapons ban. you look at some of the seats up for democrats in 2014, west virginia, iowa, south dakota, louisiana, arkansas. obviously all states that the president lost, except for iowa. very rural states. it is going to be difficult see democrats supporting a measure that goes as far as where -- as what the president wants. host: why is that? what are the regional dynamics of this? guest: i looked at this the other day during the ides of
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holster. the great summary looked at the makeup of gun owners by demographic. what they found was that the most likely gun owner was someone who was married, white, southern, mail. the least likely to own a gun was an unmarried woman between 18 years old and 29-years old. or someone who is hispanic. you look at those demographics in terms of voting, we know that man is 100% likely to be a republican and an unmarried woman is 100% more likely to be a democrat. these rural states are states that, a couple of them, our southern states. in those states, for democrats
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to do well, it is not that dumb rights are important. it is that they look at that they are culturally in tune with the states. when we talk about and are a orpen rights or gun ownership, it is a signal to owners in that state that you understand their value system. that is the biggest difficulty for some democrats. it is not simply about the policy, it is about the culture. >> for 2014, there are 20 democrats that are up. and there are 13 republicans. does it make a difference that there are more democratic seats up for grabs? guest: it is not only the number of seats the kind of seats. the republican seats are in very red states with the exception of name. that is another state where the
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gun issue is going to be trickier for the president and some democrats who want to see the issue moved much more toward a banning of certain weapons. but it is democrats who have so many seats up in the honorable states much more so than republicans. an effective -- traditionally the sixth year of a president's term is the time when his party loses many seats. if you look at where the senate has gone for the last few elections, it is a long time coming for republicans. conventional wisdom said 2010 was the year they were going to take control of the senate, obviously they didn't then. they ended up losing two seats in 2012. this looks like, if there was any year republicans could gain seats and potentially gain control of the senate, it is in
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a year like this. host: 53 democrats, 45 republicans, and two independents. could they do it now? guest: there are certain things they can do and certain things they cannot. of those 55 people who are democrats or independents, a number of them are up in these red states. you have mark prior from arkansas. you have tim johnson from south dakota. those are just a couple of examples of senators who sit in red states who are up for reelection. rockefeller is not running. it is hard to believe that democrats could nominate somebody who is going to go as far as what the president would like to see or congressional democrats would like to see on an assault weapons ban.
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even in north carolina -- that senator is going to be in a very interesting position. host: what about the dynamic in the house? this is a headline in "u.s. a. today," -- guest: i action went out to the democratic retreat in virginia this past week. there were many democrats who felt that exact way. now is the time to do it. it is not now, when -- if not now, when? we know we have the capacity to get something done. the dynamics are very different. i looked back in 1994, the last assault weapons ban.
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46 republicans supported it. the idea that 46 republicans would support anything a democratic or republican -- a democratic president was proposing was amazing. there were 188 republicans -- there were 108 democrats who supported it. that coalition that was around in 1994 just isn't there now. there are many more liberal democrats than there aren't moderate democrats. there are more conservative republicans than there are moderate republicans. what can make it through, and this is where you are hearing republicans look more open, is on universal background checks. maybe some sort of mental health legislation. we could maybe see something
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that deals with the type of or the number of bullets. how heavy the magazine is. that may be a tougher sell but those are the sort of things that can make it through the house. house republicans recognized that even among their own members, even among republicans, universal backrub checks are universally supported. -- universal background checks. [video clip] >> i think it is important to take some action now that it is possible on the issue of gun violence. it is important to do it right. i could go across america, if we had time, and tell you to survive very well spoken for the assault weapons ban.
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host: the president cautioning. he talked about after that about demographics and cultural issues. even when you look at the appetite from americans back in 1994, it was much greater which seems remarkable. even in the wake of new town or of the tragedy's this past year. fewer americans say they are supportive of them controlled than they were back in december of 1993. even the environment looks different. even more important than that, it is really that moderate seat held by democrats do not belong to democrats any more. do belong to very conservative republicans. seats that were held by moderate republicans are now held by democrats. that makes the democrats all that much -- that makes the dynamic all that more
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problematic. if you are a gun owner that it's a certain democratic profile, that makes it more likely that you are actually eight republicans. host: host: you wrote about this. ece. is amy's pi guest: we still have to do it immigration reform. host: biscuit the viewer is involved -- let's get the viewers involved. caller: we should be able to vote on our own gun control and immigration policies. host: what do you mean by that? caller: you can vote whether you want immigration control, yes or no.
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enforce our laws we already have. the american people can vote. the details can be worked out by congress. host: do you think the electorate moves forward on these issues by voting for president obama? caller: i believe americans have a right to choose. congress has specialty groups. they are influenced by other people. the general public is not considered. guest: we know that these issues are in the spotlight. the amount of ink that has been spilled writing about these issues.
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the do not race to the level where the economy and jobs. the election was about the economy. the voters want to see congress deal with that. you do have different rules and regulations about whether you could have a concealed weapon and where you can carry that concealed weapon. the states have some per view in this. there needs to be some national oversight on this. this is why the universal background check is so popular. we have to make sure that people in ohio or florida, it is a national infrastructure.
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can adjust the state by state, a patchwork formula -- it cannot just be a state-by-state patchwork. host: we have a tweet. craig from arizona, go ahead. caller: two statements, gun control and immigration. host: we are listening. caller: i'm from a generation that was taught the constitution. i believe in that deeply. i believe that our government no longer does. when it comes to guns, none of
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mine are registered. none of them will ever be registered. anybody that wants mine better bring theirs and they come to get them. guest: craig an interesting perspective that is not that you unique. taking guns away from -- whenyou ask gun owners about this issue, more than half believe that the government is trying to take their guns away. democrats have lost the argument, they have not been able to prevent something to the public that says this is not about taking away guns or question the validity of the
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second amendment. this is about protecting people and reducing violence. the hard part is, they are not going to believe that. i think the messenger is very important. joe manchin from west virginia. to get that buy-in, you need republicans to also weigh in to say this is not about taking guns away from people. so many gun owners believe this is a slippery slope and that will be tough to turn around. host: the role of the nra.
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what impact could have? are democrats afraid of the nra? guest: there has been a lot of talk about what the nra can and cannot do. they do not have the influence they once did. it is not whether the nra will, after specific members of congress. it is what the symbol of being in an array-supported candidates says. it is like being able to wear a badge independence for many of these democrats. they want to make sure voters that supported john mccain and romney continue to vote for democrats as the house member
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because they think they are not like other democrats. the best way to prove that is to get support from the nra. host: democratic caller, go ahead. caller: i was talking about the culture change in the united states that is going to happen. the president has taken -- i am not a black person. but the president has made the black peopl e of this country is a small minority. they have less power. naacp has said anything about it.
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i had a chief of police stop me when i was driving a new mustang. he spoke broken english. he called for -- they got 14,500 pesos out of me. some people were still in jail. this culture change is going to take a long time. host: i think we might have missed the beginning of your comments. caller: immigration. what is happening with the sweep blacken, we're making a minority relatively smaller and changing the culture. and for what purpose?
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host: is there a regional issue for immigration reform? what of the politics of this? guest: depending where you live, you have a different perspective. almost everyone has felt the impact of immigration. communities are becoming more diverse. it is not just folks coming in from mexico. the asian population is growing. this is a significant change. it has tremendous impact on the people that are coming out and voting. we saw this in the last election. 70% of voters were white.
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89% of republican -- identified themselves as republicans were white. that is not sustainable. the number of people from another race is increasing. that will impact every single politician, even if your district does not look that way. this is where the real difficulty is going to be for republicans. intellectually they understand what happened during the last election. there was a growth of minority voters. win a popular vote in this country. look at the average house member
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in this country. close to 80%. the average democratic district is minority majority. there district doesn't look like that. that will be a different sell for a house member then a senator or for a presidential candidate who says we cannot be identified simply as the white party or we will not exist as a party anymore. there are a lot of republicans saying that, "we have to change the way we talk about the issue. we have to change the way that we interact with hispanic voters."
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passing immigration reform is an important step in changing the perception, especially among the hispanic population. that is not the only answer. you have to go into these areas and try to work with these voters. not simply show up every four years ago about your merry way. you have to be able to engage with these voters. "let's move on to something else." the view among government of hispanic voters is different than what the republican orthodoxy says. "we need to cut down on
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government spending and rein in the reach of government." they do believe in having the reach extend a little farther. it is not simply they need to change their tone. the policies need to reach to hispanic voters. [video clip] >> obviously economic growth is a priority. that's why immigration reform is so critical. [applause] i said this is going to be a top priority of my in administration. republicans and democrats starting to be in a serious conversation about getting this done.
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now is the time. i recognize the politics are not always easy. i understand this may be a tough issue in some places. host: a tough issue for democrats? guest: democrats may believe their candidates in a good year were unsuccessful because of their views on immigration. that was such a hot-button issue. it was a problem in suburban districts. now this is a much more homogenous democratic party. -wise, i think they are on the same stage. eric cantor said the dream act
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is a good thing. there should be legislation that allows children brought here by their parents to be able to have a path to citizenship. in the 2008 primary, rick perry said children in taxes should have access to get the same tuition breaks that non-illegals had. there was an outcry from republican conservatives. that was considered the most problematic issue he had to address. a huge problem in iowa for him. people said, how can you give the access to college tuition
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that students who are not here illegally get? , that is year's time being embraced by republicans. it was considered the kiss of death and now republicans should support. i do not know that the base is with them. members of congress recognized this. it has yet to be seen if voters are in the same place. host: there are three vacancies right now. the illinois seat, a seat in missouri, and a seat in south carolina. we're speaking with amy walter.
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doug is next. hi, doug. fromr: hoyes, i'm fayetteville, georgia. i have five pistols. i'm a hunter. i no longer conduct. one shotgun and one rifle is outside the box. the others are still in the box em in.ht th andem i once had the opportunity to buy a double barrel shotgun. when i was 12 years old, i got my first rifle.
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host: what does gun control me to you? caller: i always lived on it military base and i had to have my weapons registered. gun control is not going to do anything. we have seen from fast and furious. there were no background checks on those people. host: you are ok with some registration of your gun? caller: yeah, i have no problem with that. host: background checks? caller: if you buy them from a store. if you buy them from me gun show, it is too hard for a
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background check. i will not take the chance of not receiving the gun. guest: it goes to show just how difficult implementing some of these changes could be. everybody believes that people should not own guns. how you and share your not preventing good people from being able to own a weapon? you can see the difficulty coming to a head. this is the crux of the problem for so many gun owners. they feel lighke, "i have had guns since i was a kid.
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no one i know we do something like what happened in newtown. why is it i am getting punished? i have always done the right thing." you can understand where the frustration is coming from. the first paragraph was about recognizing and honoring law- abiding gun owners as part of our culture. how important the second amendment is. that is where they are starting from. it is different from starting from, "let's go after the guns." most people are good people. they should have a right to own
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guns. we understand that. we are trying to reduce the violence. they are trying to address the issues about the fact that, "i don't understand why i have to be subject to the kinds of restrictions that should be limited to the bad guys." host: we have this suggestion from twitter. gary from ohio. go ahead, gary. caller: i was calling on the immigration problem. i was wondering if we will know the population of the united states would-b be?
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guest: for a lot of folks about the cost, it is the cost of border security and health care and education. it is the cost of incarceration and deportation that make up this issue. if we are able to have a better immigration solution, we cut down on many parts of that. instead of spending our time trying to round up and deport people who are here illegally, put that effort into protecting the border. get people on the books. they become part of the community fabric. they start paying into many of
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the programs that are so important for so many of us, whether it is the schools or medicare or social security. those are things members of congress are trying to address with a comprehensive immigration bill. host: liz smith on twitter -- host: this is the headline from "usa today." bill in delaware. hi, bill. caller: yes, i like to mention -- amy mentioned a slippery slope.
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we got it in 1994. now the universal background checks -- just about every gun owner that i know -- the next up is suspicion. they do not want that. the majority of members that i have talked to are opposed to universal background checks. they are changing the terminology. nobody can give me a definition of gun violence. gun safety is another one. i taught gun safety. that's not what the administration is calling gun
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safety. guest: this is what president clinton was alluding to. the definition of an assault rifle. it is understandable for many people that want to see these guns off the streets. many are police officers. streets.ked on the i have seen what they do to human beings. there is no need for them outside of a military environment." you are seeing a run at gun shows for background checks. the problem with this issue is it goes beyond guns and both
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sides recognize that. we talked about a culture that does celebrate violence in many ways in movies or video games. we love having freedoms. we don't have to check in everywhere. we go from state to state and carried registrations for everything that we do. it is that level of freedom which means sometimes bad things are going to happen. host: what happened in 1994 with house members that voted for gun control? guest: if you think back to that year, that was an incredible amount of legislation, it was
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nafta, a tax increase, the balanced budget that president clinton had supported. there was the health care legislation that was debated. those together created an image of democrats and of the president that was very much to the left and all about expanding control of governments. many voters thought here was a president who came into washington with a mandate that was left of center. that deeper frustration was what led to the historic loss for democrats in 1994. there was stronger support for
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gun legislation back in 1993 then there is today. there was a stronger belief that limiting guns or having gun control was going to help reduce violence. what has happened since 1993, with that columbine and newtown. we have had a gun control on the books and different experiments. there is still a tremendous amount of unnecessary gun deaths. host: david is next from florida. caller: thank you. i wanted to comment on gun control and stuff like that. ownerrepublican and gun and i support background
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checks. there should be a way to incorporate some bodies medical background into this. somebody buying a gun on anti- depressant, that is something to consider with the mass shootings we had last year. all those people were taking something for depression. there should be something done. guest: there are a lot members of congress that agree with you . the question you get into is what access should the government have to your medical records? how do you integrate those things in a way that still protect the privacy of citizens? you get into the debates that we have heard on the show. "i have registered my gun.
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bad guys don't have to register their guns. why does taking certain medications limit my opportunity to own a gun?" finding a way to do this that protect everybody is impossible. the compromise will be very important. it may be problematic for some people. host: let's end on immigration reform. rand paul writes this morning about border security. then you have the role of marco rubio. he has come up with a proposal and working with the gang of
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eight. he will be giving the response to our night to president obama. guest: i think he brings up immigration. he starts from his own personal experience. there are plenty of immigrants in florida. republicans feel they fell short in the last election. they were not able to make a personal connection with those voters. there was talk about self deportation and electrified border fences. "we are actively against you." that is what marco rubio is going to go after.
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and the people that are here. he is a candidate elected as a tea partier. he is conservative. "we want to see a pathway and to make sure these people are integrated into american society." there could be some lines in the sand. host: we will be covering marco rubio's response. our coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern time. amy walter, thank you. to confide her thoughts on cook political.com. thank you.
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we'll be discussing millennials. later on, how your tax dollars are being spent to rebuild afghanistan. but first a news update. >> lawmakers in favor of gun control invited the husband of a woman that was killed in the connecticut school shooting to attend the state of the union address tomorrow night, but he declined. the white house and supporters plan to launch a campaign around the state of the union address involving social media and fund raising. this reflects a decision to focus more on using public
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support to pressure congress rather than getting bogged down in partisan fights as lawmakers. the president will visit chicago on friday to discuss a gun violence. he will talk about the recent gun violence in that city. a teenager was shot to death last month at a south side park. this happened a week after performing at president obama's inaugural festivities. the first lady attended her funeral on saturday. her mother will attend the speech tomorrow night. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. [video clip]
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>> having observed a steady improvement in the opportunities and well-being of our citizens i can report to you the state of this union is good. >> once again in keeping with time honored tradition as i come to report on the state of the union. i am pleased to report that america is much improved. there is good reason to believe improvement will continue in the days to come. >> my duty tonight is to report on the state of the union. not the state of our government, but of our american community. and to set forth our responsibilities, in the words of our founders, to form a more perfect union. the state of the union is strong. >> as we gather tonight, our nation is at war. our economy is in recession. and our civilized world faces unprecedented dangers. yet the state of our union has never been stronger.
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>> it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong. >> tuesday, president obama delivers this year's address. live on c-span, followed by the gop response and your reaction. the state of the union, tuesday night on c-span, c-span radio, and c-span.org. >> "washington journal" continues. host: our topic for the next 45 minutes is the youth vote. our guest is abby kiesh from center for information and research on civic learning and engagement. we are talking about millennials. who are they? guest: young people 18-29 years old.
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they are very diverse. it is a very diverse group and they are engaged. host: they make up 201% of the voting population. guest: we work with harvard university to highlight that young people are clear and concrete assets to the country and to their communities. the participation rates are around historic highs. we have the potential for even more growth. host: what are they doing? guest: young people are voting at the same rates as their parents, just over 50%.
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we have 21% of youth discussing current issues more than a few times a week. they are innovating in terms of using online tools. host: the report is they are voting at the same rate as their parents. guest: there was a dip in the 1990's. it is pretty consistent when you look at the averages over time. the youth vote is complicated. there is a large chance that young people were not feeling well come to. youth groups reach out to young people, they respond.
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host: on electoral activities, grassroots sort of things. what did your report find? what activities are they doing? guest: education is so important. we talk about civic engagement in four different ways. talking to your neighbors. having a voice and discussing issues with people. there is a lack -- less that young people are doing to contact public officials. young people that are college graduates are more likely to
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contact their public official then youths that do not have a college experience. there are drastic differences in opportunities about learning. learning how they can access and navigate the system. host: president obama has his action group and using social media. is he targeting the 18-29- year-olds? guest: social meet it is a place to reach millennials -- social media is a place to reach millennials. there will be a giant event in
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d.c. to talk about the state of the union and connecting young people from all over the country. young people are getting their social media sites. host: we are talking about the youth in this country and their level of civic engagement. we have a special line for 18- to 29-year-olds. we want to hear from you on this conversation, all ages. there is a big piece in "the new york times" this morning. "it can be a constructive
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force." guest: look at the exit poll data. the idea of the role of government various. es. you can see that young people that were not supportive of the president are split on the role of government. 50% believe there is more of a role that government can play. 70% think there's more of a role that government can play in helping to solve issues. host: we will bring some high school students into the conversation this morning. promoting your upcoming series about the first lady's.
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in ohio thiss is morning and some students will be joining us. the school is 50 miles northwest of cincinnati. we want to thank those students for joining us this morning via skype. a special thank you for preparing the students this morning and time warner cable for sponsoring today's event. tom is in new york. hi, tom. good morning. caller: good morning. i feel the youth are getting more involved. the liberals and democrats have them bamboozled that they are
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for the middle class. they tax the middle class and give to the poor. host: what do you think republicans can do? caller: they have to get more involved. i think the youth feel they are more out of touch. they have to try something. host: is that true? guest: that is an important point. there was more of an effort by the republican party to reach out to young people compared to 2008. i think there's a lot of messages out there that say all young people are liberal. there are young people that are conservative.
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in terms of ideology, people are more diverse than we often hear . i agree the republican party has shown evidence that they are looking for a strategy to reach out for young people. they are looking to what they can do to mobilize. host: patrick is our first student. caller: thank you for having us on today. i was wondering based on their involvement, has social media cost any shifts in the tendency of these voters? guest: thank you so much for that question. i'm interested in what you think about that. do you think it is shifting? caller: i do.
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i was wondering if it had any real impact on elections. guest: there is a couple of areas where it is striking. the idea of having a voice. researchers are looking into online participatory politics and how young people are voicing their opinions through social media sites. 44% of young people are using social media sites to share political views or to make their own. it is a way for young people to have a voice and to make discussions. i see it on facebook. it is an opportunity to have discussions.
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discussion makes it more likely that somebody can be engaged. host: justin is next. goahead. -- go ahead. caller: hi. i come from michigan. have you been to michigan? host: what is your point? caller: have you been to detroit? guest: yes. caller: detroit is a city i frequent often to get engaged with the community. it needs a lot of help. a lot of people don't feel that they have been treated right by their state government, city government, federal government.
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they are being told the internet to their problems are the federal government. i was wondering if that is something you think will be a continuing trend. every time a city goes downhill, the federal government feels the need to step th in. guest: this is a critical area to think about. there are differences in the ways that people and experience civic and poetical life. we see that in the data of this report. people participate in different ways. when it comes to getting young people involved, one of our partners has young people talk
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about how they can work on issues that they care about, issues that are impacting their communities. mobilizing people on the federal level. the general nation alliance was working together to have young people's voices heard around those economic and other issues. i do think young people are engaged on all different levels. opportunities have to be created. if we want young people to be engaged, we have to create opportunities. host: we will go back to the boss now. -- bus n ow. lance is up.
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caller: is the youth trend similar to the national trend? guest: that is such an important question now, looking at what is going to happen in the next two years. there is a drop-off in used voter turnout. i think he knew the answer to that question. that also drops for other age groups. young people are not the only people that turnout for presidential elections. this is an important time to think about this. our previous research showed there was a drop-off in engagement. 75% of the young people and then went to about 2/3.
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there was a lot of you that were undermobilized. when people are registered to vote, they are more likely to vote. we feel this is important right now. campaigns can be thinking now about involving young people in campaigns. we can have young people have a voice and participate in campaigns and democracy. host: catherine is in ohio. caller: good morning. my question is simple. all of my children graduated from taylor. three of my grandchildren graduated from taylor.
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the superintendent at taylor high school has refused to allow any student to listen to any message by this president because he is a biracial ran. president bush and any republican -- host: how do you know that? caller: because when the last time the president gave a speech and my children wanted to hear at -- my grandchildren, they had a blackout. i called the principal. host: a local issue. if you have been able to find out if students pay attention to state of the union addresses, those kind of big political
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speeches. guest: that can really differ. a young person's context and who is asking them to participate can impact whether or not they are involved. if a teacher gives you an assignment, you may do that. if you have friends watching, you may pay attention, too. young people are more likely to have two things going on at the same time. there are young people paying attention to this. watching the debates and the inauguration leads to the discussion. discussion is critical to
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engagement. in terms of civic education is double -- deliberation and discussion. problems of democracy courses and we've gone to civic courses where discussion is not emphasized. host: so teachers are not watching these speeches with the students. guest: it differs tremendously and is more likely to happen in wealthier districts, this high quality civic activities. it is happening but not equally distributed. host: andrea. caller: how do you think the youth voting trend would be affected?
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do you think the republican party would see an increase in youth voting trends? guest: thank you so much for bringing up civic education, andrea. we think that is critical. young people are in school. it is an opportunity to help them develop skills and to talk with them. that amount of civic education has not changed over time. it is what it looks like that has changed and whether teachers have the leeway to teach it. civics has changed. young people with high quality civic education. it is having a direct impact on
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their civic engagement or they're having an overall high- quality educational experience. if we change civic education, it is what we think is needed and we need to focus on high quality 6, letting people have a voice. you can do something on an issue that you care about. the high quality experiences are not equally distributed. i am not sure how that would have an impact on the parties. did not lead young people to one particular party or one particular ideology. civic education might make people more liberal -- the
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research doesn't show that. host: shondra is an independent caller. are you ready to go? caller: oh, yes. i appreciate your program. i deal with the use every time. i feel that's we're getting educated and our goal is to be a better citizen and to make money and all that. we are in need on some education in respective -- my question to the guest is, what are the ways to develop -- how the value is created?
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i think it is the perspective into thinking about how they should be making the effort to go in that direction. host: abby kiesh? guest: this is an interesting point to bring up. thank you for calling. the opportunity that young people have to discuss issues and to understand how current events are happening. one thing we think is important -- and then people can say how life is happening in the current context. there was some frustration on the part of youth talking about
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history and not have to get contextualized. an important part i heard you talk about was what is going on today and how then people can i understand what is going on today. social studies courses can help people put that in context with what they are seeing in the world. host: will go back to the bus this morning to teddy. caller: hi. in what way are young people mobilized? guest: have you seen differences? caller: i have noticed president obama talking to young voters. i have not noticed much of a
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change other than that. guest: it leaps forward in this. greta that is probably something you seen happen. that is something that has been invested in. one of the things we have also seen across the board in 2012 with people putting issues into context of young people's lives, s connecto how and people live and see the world. we saw that on both sides in 2012. we saw folks reaching out over social media. one of the biggest things that can happen to mobilize young people is having people ask young people to vote. research has shown this so much. it is one of the most consistent research findings is that young people are more likely to vote
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if they are asked. that's why we solvay's ground games in campaigns -- that's why we saw ground gains in the campaigns. that's why president obama had done people talking to other young people. thanks for asking the question. it is important. it takes time to plant and time to build relationships and trust with young people, which is critical. -- to plan. host: bill is a democrat in chicago. caller: i'm a 75-year-old black man. they realize that right to work is 100% against a level playing field. they also see what's going on in michigan. they also know that the republican party has done everything it can to make it
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harder for students to go. what is don't like going on with the republican party's moves against everything that's right. you cannot hide this from them. they are aware this. you cannot keep doing this. host: all right. guest: banks for calling. -- thanks. one of the things i have seen in talking to young people is that young folks see things through authenticity. that was one of the things that and we looked for in the political campaigns and in what politicians are saying and how politicians are being framed. one way to reach young people and be more authentic is to
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provide an opportunity for young people to have a voice. that's what we are doing today, which is amazing. young people having a voice and campaigns providing an opportunity for them to participate and have a role can create more of an authentic situation for young people to feel more welcome. host: abby kiesa is a youth researcher. civicyouth.org. the talking about millennial generation 18-22. our next student is sam harper. caller: what socio-economic background to most youth voters come from? guest: thank you for this, sam.
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one thing that is really important to understand about young people is that they experience the economy in very different ways. our young people -- there are young people will feel like they have been failed and are looking for help and are looking for skills, networks, and assistance. and there are others who have had our opportunity. the young people in the u.s. are quite diverse. when you looked at the data in the health index, it shows education is a proxy for socio- economic status. 40% of young people in the united states don't have any college experience. 40% of 18-29--year-olds are in a place where they're not able to or have decided it's not the right situation for them. -- 18--year-olds to 29-year-
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olds. education is so tied to a civic engagement, both in terms of social influence and social advantage and in terms of how you about opportunities and learn about skills and are able to take part. host: we showed discharged earlier from your report. it shows non-electoral civic activities, meaning if someone is a college graduate, you can see their activity levels go up in the different categories. contacting their public official, serving on the committee, an officer in a group, boycotting something in the public domain, how. it decided how guest: the one important exception to this, which this index shows is that young people who have less
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formal education are more likely to help their neighbors, more likely to do favors for their neighbors or received favors from a neighbor, which is important. this is something that came out of the research, because we were listening to our young people did about their communities and how they see themselves having an impact. now we're able to imbed this into the current population survey and show how people are having an influence in their local neighborhoods and communities. host: more statistics from your report -- so, are they still engaged even though they have a high unemployment rate? or does that make them more engaged? guest: what we've seen from the data is that there is still high unemployment, that even the young people who are employed
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could be implored part-time -- employed part-time, so there's that element of economic instability. one of the story lines in this report is 22-year-old to 25- year-olds have fought low trust in lowell levels of engagement. we are trying to figure out if that is the place in life they are in or whether or not that is directly tied to the economic downturn. these are the young people coming into an economy during the height of the economic crisis. so that is something that needs a lot more research. we are really looking forward to looking into that. but one of the important pieces of this is now we are more well prepared to deal with the economic crisis particularly because we know that we have more tools. we, circle, along with the
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national conference on citizenship, did research over the past two is that shows the economic rebuilding of a community is tied to the civic engagement of that community and civic infrastructure the community has. when we have strong social ties and a strong cyclical engaged community in general, we can have lower levels of unemployment. the research has shown that. host: we have some students from taylor high school joining us as part of this conversation. our bus is parked outside taylor high school this morning in north bend, ohio. part of our effort to promote its an upcoming series, "first lady's: image and influence." north bend is the burial site of william harrison and his wife. now ryan is on the line. caller: what's the main reason for the voting gap between college and non-college young
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people? guest: great question. one of the things we found in the fall was campaigns were reaching out to young people not on college campuses less. it's because research shows contact and being asked are so critical to voting that it can play a very large part. the others thing is when we see other people voting around us and people are telling us to vote, that can also have an impact. i think those two things as well as, getting back to the point about civic education, civic education for various reasons is tied to voting peter because of the relationship between education engagement or because someone has high-quality civics education experiences. so young people in more wealthy or more white districts are more likely to have high-quality experiences. those are also the young people
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more likely to go on to college. those are few reasons why we're seeing this gatt in the new voting -- this gap in youth voting. host: mackenzie is on the line. caller: my question is about politicians and youth voters in america, how should they bridge the gap? guest: how do you think politicians should be reaching out to people like you and in your class? caller: i think through social media. that's probably the best way. all the young people are on social media networks, and that's the way to go. host: how often are you on facebook or twitter? caller: i'm on every day. host: multiple times per day?
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caller: yes, probably. host: are you getting your news from there as well? caller: no, not currently. host: how closely do you follow what is happening in washington? ♪ caller: pretty closely. marc klaas just went to the inauguration. i am very interested in politics and learning more, after going. host: here's a tweet -- gu♪ i don't think so. things move pretty quickly with social media. people understand politics pretty well. host: thank you. what did you hear? guest: banks. i totally agree social media is the one way for politicians to
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reach young people. if it is done authentically, it can be real asset to show that young people's voices are being heard. we have seen twitter pacts. and recently there was one on gun-control. i've seen other ways for campaigns and politicians to reach an people. talking to them is a place to start. reaching out. to hear from young people like yourselves in the district as well. and creating opportunities for young people to enroll in campaigns and to have rolled in issues. there are issues going on right now that young people feel very strongly about and are mobilizing around. politicians can talk to those young people who are being mobilized in their own districts. that is one way to connect to young people, by talking about issues him people care about. host: do youth understand how
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washington works? guest: this is interesting. this is where research when talking about data is helpful. we did a post-election survey where we ask young people about a different political knowledge questions. one of the things we found was that there were issues him misinformed on,ront c a similar issues to the ones that adults were misinformed. young people were more informed than adults on certain issues, slightly. when we talk about youth political knowledge, is a misnomer to say that a young people are not as educated about the workings of the government when compared to adults. there are absolutely
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differences amongst young people and among adults, but it is important to point out that and people do have political knowledge. host: we will try to get our last couple students. caller: referring back to that tweet, we do know the speaker of the house is john boehner. what is the reasoning for the lower turnout in youth voting? >> one guest: in the past three election cycles, youth voting has been the same from 1976 through 1992. so it is at historic places right now compared to history. young people right now are voting at the same rates that their parents did.
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you are correct in that there's still a gap between 18-year-olds to 29 urals and those over 30 in the voter turnout. one of the important pieces of this, we talk about outreached hand we talk about that if people asking people to vote and contact them, they're more likely to do so. we're beginning to wrap up the infrastructure. organizations like montana ford, like the project in oregon, like the generational alliance, and other organizations doing the same thing. so we are beginning to rebuild these infrastructures are now where young people can stay engaged. but it also means that politicians and campaigns have to talk to them, so we don't get back into this cycle of you are not talking to me, therefore i am not going to vote.
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so we need to intervene in that cycle. three presidential elections in a row we have had high voter turnout from youth. we can increase that by making a deliberate choice to see where young people are not engaged and make efforts to fill the gaps. host: a tweet -- guest: we were talking earlier, you mention the new york times article and the role of government, young people are more likely to see a role of government for having an impact on problem solving in the nation and the state and local communities. i think that is one element of this. also, that is one element of this that i think it's important
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to understand young voters. host: 1 last student. go ahead, tyler. caller: i was just wondering if there was any evidence of a gender gap among youth voters and if so, reducing the trend in the future? guest: thank you for the question. over the past several presidential cycles we have seen that young women are more likely to vote than young men. we're talking about 18-year-olds to 29-year-olds. this has been pretty consistent. around six percentage points more likely to vote. i don't know where that is going necessarily, but it absolutely has been something. you are brilliant to bring that up. host: we want to thank our students at taylor high school for preparing for today, reading the report, coming up with questions, as well as their teacher michael to help them
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prepare for today's show and time warner cable for sponsoring today's bus event. our bus in ohio and virginia out there touring historical sites and schools to promote our upcoming series "first lady's." and thanks for talking to our viewers saw, abby kiesa. guest: thank you. host: coming up next, your money is our topic. that every monday. in the last hour we look at taxpayer dollars. today our focus is rebuilding afghanistan. we will be right back. >> its 9:18 a.m. eastern time. jeremy, writing for the hill newspaper, says the defense industry is joining forces with health, education, and other domestic sectors to wage a last- minute push to stop the across- the-board sequestration cuts from taking effect on march 1. the new approach from the aerospace industries association and domestic
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spending advocates is an attempt to convince lawmakers that are focused on defense cuts themselves with lawmakers worried about domestic programs. c-span is covering this news conference that staring now on c-span2. the washington post reports that later this year, president obama may use executive action for some of his priorities including gay rights, housing, and climate change. the moves would bypass congress. meanwhile, there's a report from bloomberg that says the president will issue an executive order aimed at bolstering u.s. cybersecurity as soon as this week. the executive order expected to be released after the president's state of the union address sets up a voluntary program of cyber security standards for companies operating vital u.s. infrastructure. it has not happened in 600 years, but at the end of the month, pope benedict xvi will leave the papacy. the vatican announced the pending resignation today. his brother says the pontiff had
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been advised by doctors not to take any more transatlantic trips and had been considering stepping down for months. pope benedict xvi announced earlier today that his resignation date would be effective separate 28. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> i quoted ladybird often when she said she had a podium. the first lady had to pull him and she chose to use it, she said. i think really knowing that, it was after i made a presidential radio address on the treatment of women and children in afghanistan about the taliban and after that i was here in boston visiting jenna. we went shopping and delays and the cosmetic counter in the department store and came up and said thank you so much for speaking for women in afghanistan. that was really the first time
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that i thought, they heard me. -- in austin. i think i knew the first lady had a podium, but i did not really know until after that. >> c-span has this first of a kind project for television, examining the public and private lives of the women to serve as first lady. season one begins next monday president's day at 9:00 a.m. eastern and pacific on c-span, c-span radio, and c-span.org. >> "washington journal" continues. host: on mondays we take a look at your money, how taxpayer dollars are being spent. our focus today is rebuilding afghanistan. john sopko is our guest. he's the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction. we were just talking about you have your own acronym in washington, that's important.
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the price tag so far for rebuilding afghanistan, $87 billion. what is your role in overseeing that money? guest: well, sigar was set up by congress to oversee and make certain that it gets spent well. we are the special inspector general. i got the job appointed by the president in -- in july. we are full service inspector general's office. we do audits, inspections, and criminal investigations. we have 200 people looking to see if the money is well spent. if there's any theft, we will investigate and turnover to the justice department for prosecution. host: do you have every single dollar of that $87 billion accounted for? guest: no. i don't think anybody -- and that's the problem. it is a hard area to work.
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that's the amount of money than has been appropriated so far. over the last 10 years. if you include the $10 billion or so that is in the president's budget, it comes close to $100 billion. of that amount, a good amount, almost $30 billion, even though it's appropriated, has not been spent. we are trying to get a handle on that right now. that is what we are focusing on, particularly now because of the changes that are occurring in afghanistan, the drawdown in troops, now's the time to focus on how we spend money wisely. host: so it has not been spent. as it left washington to afghanistan? guest: no, technically it is appropriated, has been obligated but not yet spent. some of it is right here in washington. what we are trying to do is we're not saying you cannot or
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should not spend it, but now's the time to rethink our strategy, particularly as the number of troops is going down, the security situation may change and it may have a direct impact on the success or failure of that money. host: let's look and how u.s. funds are being spent. total funding, the total authorized, $80 billion. the biggest piece of this pie is security. guest: many people when you think of the construction, you think about building schools, clinics, education, issues like that. the way that reconstructed is defined under the statute also includes security. over 50% of the amount of money we have spent actually goes to hiring, training, paying salaries, supporting the afghan
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national security forces, which is made up of their army, their national police, and their local police. so over 60% goes for that prevents what we're looking at also. host: why does it cost that much? is that a large figure when compared to what it takes to maintain our armed forces in the united states? guest: well, when this started, the country of afghanistan was in shambles. we had to rebuild the military, their security forces. this is -- the president has said and the vice president has talked about that this is's the war and we are here to help them. -- this is the afghans' war. it's important they have a security force to take over the responsibilities. we are rebuilding it almost from
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scratch. everything from the salaries to building bases for them, supplying from shoes to airplanes, that all is part of the afghan national security budget. that is a key element of our strategy to get out of afghanistan. host: $22 billion for governance. what does that mean? guest: talking about a country that was in shambles, again, after the taliban were kicked out. it is a country that has been at war for over 30 years. governance is everything from cleaning the streets to setting up a finance ministry to collect revenue. we and our allies have been spending billions of dollars to try to strengthen the government, rebuild that government so it can take on its responsibilities. host: your latest report, what
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are your concerns about how the moneys being spent? $4 billion for fuel for the afghan national army, questionable. the list goes on. guest: we're finding problems in lot of various. what we highlighted is that there are probably seven big areas, seven big questions, that if you are going to succeed -- and we hope the u.s. government and our allies succeed -- you need to focus on these seven questions to make certain you will succeed. one is the program or policy we are funding, does it? meet our national it surprisingly, sometimes these programs don't. as a matter of fact, they do the opposite. we want to make certain the afghans want these programs and policies. we have to make certain that a coordinated.
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we consider the security implications and what that means for managing or overseeing a contract. also have to take into consideration the serious problem of corruption there. sustainability is another big issue. to go back to your question, what is the problem? the seven questions lay out what we say are the big problems. congress needs to hold the executive branch accountable and the executive branch needs to review their programs to make certain they answer those questions in the affirmative. if they do, that program is more likely to succeed and to fail. if they don't, you see the problems we have identified in the report and they will reoccur again and again. host: let's show our viewers some pictures from your report. here's a largely unused border police facility, $7 million for this.
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you identified $6 million for questionable repairs to afghan police vehicles. here's a picture of some of the vehicles. the list included vehicles that were ultimately destroyed. they could not even be repaired. who is requesting money for these types of projects? is it the afghans or our military soldiers? guest: it is all the above. sometimes none of the above. backs where we are going to the seven questions. it is so surprising that we will come into -- and i think that you've cited one of the garrisons that we inspected -- apparently, nobody spoke to the afghans. so it was built. somebody had a great idea to build this garrison. we have seen this repeatedly, where we are not even telling the afghans what we are building.
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now we are planning to turn things over to them. if it's not coordinated with them, it will be hard for them to sustain. we found schools, clinics where the afghans don't even know we are building it until the end when we give them the keys that they say, you have a new school and you'll have to support it. who is doing this? a lot of these come from the u.s. military. a lot of it comes from aid. but it goes back to the seven questions. if they ask those seven questions and really hold themselves accountable, we should not have these problems. host: let's get our viewers involved. the inspector general responsible for looking at the money in rebuilding afghanistan. in new jersey, an independent caller. caller: good morning. i remember the green party -- i am a member of the green party. there are global implications
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even force afghanistan and it deals with land reform. the idea of value captured, this is something even the world bank is looking at. from what i have read of the economic activity in cities like kabul, there's a great deal of land speculation. we feel very strongly that the value capture idea or land on taxation will go a long way to channeling resources that are made available away from the land grabbing interests in the country to the actual people who need the resources, to pay for public goods and services. i would be interested to know is land reform in your report and how is evaluated at? member two, the whole issue of value capture, is on the table in discussions with afghanistan 's political leaders? guest: i know land reform and land prices are serious issue
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over there. the last time oil spii was in afghanistan was last week. afghan nationals and some of our people told us how the prices have gone up dramatically. afghant know how the government is going about capturing the increase in prices, the value. we are looking currently at the capability of the afghan government to collect taxes and how, because that is part of the governance issue, they cannot collect taxes. they cannot sustain all the things we are building for them if they cannot collect taxes. that's a serious problem. whether valuation and paying property taxes or whatever the answer, i don't know. develop the programs, i don't develop policy, i don't do foreign policy or military policy or military objectives.
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once congress and the executive branch decide what the policy or program is, then we see how well it's done and if there are problems, we make recommendations. going back to the taxation issue, it's a critical issue. now the afghan government, what they collect is about $2 billion per year. just paying for the afghan national security force is over $4 billion. then and all the other programs. the problem is there's a delta between what the afghans collect and it cost of running their government, the cost of fighting the taliban, the cost of maintaining order. that difference is being supported by the united states taxpayer and by our allies. but it is conditioned. the caller and others have some concerns about how well that is being spent. that is the value. a lot of discussion came out of the tokyo accords about the
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international community will not walk, but they're trying to put conditions on the ability of the afghan government to govern and to fight corruption. people see what happens on that. host: how many times have you been to of tennis fans? guest: i've been there twice and have only been on the job seven months. you have to get there and kick the tires. i usually go two since a time. i plan to go there every quarter. >> when you are there investigating a certain program, webster's you the most from afghans about how the money was being used? what is the biggest excuse? guest: i don't know about an excuse. the biggest concern was the afghans that i need as well as the u.s. military and officials there are two. the two biggest are corruption and security. if you don't have security, you are not going to have good governance.
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all of these programs are at risk. the other issues as corruption. we're not talking about nickels or dimes. we are talking about major corruption. polling has been done of the afghan people, it's the biggest issue. corruption at the local and national level. host: $87 billion authorized to be spent. how much has been lost to corruption? guest: that's a hard figure to get. a lot. but the amount of corruption, i will be bad for the historians to figure out. host: billions? guest: definitely. my job is to try to prevent this. if we find american citizens or others who have profited by it, it's my job to investigate and turn over to prosecutors. it's a nice figure to debate, but the important thing is how do we stops that impacting our program? host: on twitter --
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guest: that's correct. or they came with running water and electricity supply system and the big concern is they did not think in terms of how the afghans are going to sustain this. some very sophisticated systems. one of the reports i came out with the, it is funny except for the fact it is taxpayer payermos involved. the waste water treatment center is up the hill and not down the hill. you have to pump out the sewage. to run the pumps it is so exorbitant, there's no way the afghans can do it. so the sewage treatment plant will fail and all the raw sewage will run through the middle of the base, but nobody ever thought about that. right next to the base is a power line. nobody thought about tapping into the power line as a source
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of electricity rather than use a generator. and it's very difficult to get fuel to this base in particular and it will be extremely costly. host: on the democratic line, harry. caller: my question, all the money we're spending to rebuild afghanistan, i live in a state that just got hammered with a storm and we are having a hard time getting money from congress to rebuild here. is there a plan in place, once this is all done and we sent the $90 billion to get this taken care of, is there any plan in place to get repaid for all of this and put it back in our treasury so that it can come home and do fundamentally good things to our infrastructure, which needs a lot of work, roads and bridges etc. guest: i don't know of any plan in place that the afghans are born to be paying us for this.
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again, that is more of a policy debate that i am not part of. i don't know of anything like that. host: on twitter -- guest: there are a lot of allegations floating around, stuff in the press. i have no facts indicating president karzai or our president is involved in any criminal activity. host: it is something you looked into? guest: we look into all allegations we get. it has to be based in fact and not just assumptions. host: richard in louisiana, republican. caller: good morning. hello? host: you are on the air. caller: a lot of troops have been killed by afghan soldiers. what kind of security are we
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going to have to protect our soldiers from these army and police and all these people who are supposed to be trained by us but are turning against us? my question is, are we going to continue training these people and getting killed by these people? host: the policy question. but is that part of the cost, when we look at the security figure of $51 billion? we trained afghans and then they don't want to be part of the security force any more. guest: the answer the question. the whole issue of green on blow, which is basically afghan s killing coalition forces. it's a big issue. it relates to reconstruction, because the way we define the
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construction is the training, the supplying, the vetting of the afghan army and other elements of the national security forces. operating,many ig's where the largest operating in afghanistan. we try to divide our work. the dod ig is doing a job of looking at that particular issue. so we divide the work out there. gao has looked at it. you're looking at some issues related to that. number one, we raised questions in the report about how many afghans are actually in the military? there are questions of double counting and questions we cannot verify the number. that's a significant number. we are looking at the whole problem of literacy. we're also looking at some issues about supporting the afghan troops. your caller is raised a good issue. that's a serious issue. it goes into the whole issue of security.
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if our military has a problem getting around the country, you can imagine what the problem is 4-d aid contracting officers or the state department contracting officers or four the aid and dot contract and officers and my people to get around to the basis to see where we have spent the money. there are certain places now where we cannot get to because they are too dangerous even with u.s. military, or there are places where the u.s. military can no longer get to because if it's outside the golden globubb. host: sigar.mil is read the report is if you want to read it. and there's a hotline. guest: the hot line is for people who have seen problems and want to report fraud or crimes.
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will put on the screen. guest: or you can e-mail us. host: on twitter -- how much to you look at that as part of this? guest: absolutely, we look at it. our bread and butter is looking at contracts and contractors and how good or bad they are. you hit something on the web. -- the head. our u.s. government does not know how many contractors are being paid by them right now in afghanistan. host:? 19 guest: because the records are so poor. we got a pretty good handle on the prime contractors. but since we're dealing with a lot of subs, there's no
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visibility on the subcontractors. we're sending a letter out to every major contractor and to give us those numbers. that's the pathetic thing. here we are 10 years into the warm and we don't even know who is getting our money. host: how are you able to do your job? guest: with great difficulty. we picked up information, we get the primes, but we have no visibility on the subs. that's a constant problem with the u.s. government in general. in afghanistan we had a policy that we were going to try to get the afghans to do the work. unlike in iraq where was mainly u.s. contractors so you could reach out and touch someone, i had subpoena authority over them and i could get them. whereas here your primes are afghans and the subs are hundreds of different thousands of companies that change names
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overnight. it's hard to track them down and hard to prosecute them if they do violate the law, because we have no u.s. nexus. host: we're talking about oversight of money spent to rebuild afghanistan with u.s. dollars, taxpayer dollars, on this monday. if you are republican, democrat, or independent, call. you can also send us a tweet. tim is in freeport, illinois. thanks for waiting. inler: i've been interested government overspending for particularly the military. and i love american our people will serve our government. but when i was in the navy between 1980 and 1983 i was on a the ships health and welfare committee. the other people sitting at the
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desk, officers and such, were surprised. i noticed a lot of the things that we were buying on the shipper -- and on a navy ship there's a lot of redundancy, so you are may be buying two or its three instead of just one. it's not that we are buying too much, we are spending too much on what we are buying. guest: that is a common problem and i think you are highlighting what we are finding. we are spending too much and not getting much in return. we are trying to figure that out. i would like to add on something 20 said. he said that he was an e2 in the navy in 1989 through 1982. sergeants,e
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whatever rank you are in the military, whatever support staffs, you can make a difference. it just made me think, when i was in afghanistan last time, i ran into two soldiers from the iswa national guard, sergeant and a lieutenant colonel. i want to tell a little story because it goes back to what the caller was talking about. these guys came in. their job was to manage the fuel depot and one of our bases. it makes me so proud. the sergeant looked at a few bass that was handed over to him by some other military officer or enlisted man. he said something is wrong here, this does not make sense. i know something about fuel. he is a mayor from a small town in iowa, typical national guard,
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citizen soldier, comes into his job and says there's something wrong here. he tells his costs, the lieutenant colonel. you are handing over fuel and we don't have it. so we started looking at the records and he could only go so far, and he recognized there was a problem. fortunately, i have people all over afghanistan. he remembered running into one of our agents, picked up the phone or e-mail us my guy and my guys started looking and it led to indictments and convictions. it led to a senior afghan getting convicted and getting jail time. but it led to the savings of about $19 million of fuel. that was just a sergeant and his boss, the lieutenant colonel. if that can be multiplied throughout bases throughout the united states, then we will not be double billed or overcharged. it is delisted meant who say this is wrong. it's why we get a lot of people calling who come back from a
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tour overseas and they say i saw something there that made no sense. -- it is enlisted men who say this is wrong. host: on twitter -- are the afghan contractors possibly a front for american contractors? guest: there's some of that. some are friends for other afghans, fronts for other entities. there are a lot of u.s. contractors there, yes. we had a policy, therefore it's a little more difficult in afghanistan than it was in iraq to identify. still you have to identify the subs. those are the people doing the work. many times we find out because the subs have not been paid by the crimes, to adjust walked off with the money. host: here is a headline from
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the baltimore sun -- your thoughts? guest: that part of security and the afghan national security forces, over 50 percent of our funding goes to the afghan military, national police, and local police. they're trying to emphasize the local police. we will be looking at how we pay for and support the local police, which will be very difficult. host: why >? guest: because they are spread all over. getting the fuel and equipment or whatever to the local police offices will be. host: even: they use the word lifeline. what does that say to you? guest: i don't know the context of the article, but the life line could be looking at how we support. the difficulty is how they get fuel and infrastructure out to
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the local police. this could be the lifeline -- again, i don't know the context or via article, but a lot of local units are in small villages and it's difficult to get to. they may be in trouble. and perhaps because they are out there, they are our first indication of problems and will be the first indication of problems to the afghans. host: democratic caller in mississippi, winston, you are on the air. caller: i'm calling from mississippi. i have two nieces in afghanistan right now. i don't want them over there. i want them back home. why it understand couldn't drones cannot do the mission? $88 million. what that would mean to our borders, our education, our children? [indiscernible]
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it does not seem fair that we have to go over there and to lose soldiers for this purpose. host: your thoughts? guest: again, that is a decision that policy makers will have to make. why we are there or how long we stay our decisions about my pay grade. my job is, now that we are there, are we spending the money well? if we are not, how do we improve? decisionsl policiy are for congress and the executive branch. guest: you have raised a good .ointathe tweete
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i think people keep thinking about december of 2014, the troupe drawdown will be december 2014. as an afghan told me and as general allen told me last time i was there, he said the world does not end of december 2014, there still will be a u.s. presence, military will be smaller, a lot smaller, but there will be a bigger and more important presence in the reconstruction. so we will be there. the tweet is correct. we plan to be there beyond 2014. host: what about your office? guest: my office will probably be around too. the way the statute was created. we are temporary agency. we are set up to handle the situation. it was a crisis. at some point we go out of existence. what is triggered is when the amount of money not spent falls
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below $250 million and there's no need for us. we go out of existence. everybody works for me knows that. when that happens, then the normal ig's will have their normal functions. so it would be a small enough amount for them to handle. host: when will that happen? guest: we will see. it could be years. host: you mentioned a conversation with general allen,. how often do you talk to him? guest: i spoke to him every time i was there. i have talked to him subsequently via phone and e- mail. he was a great support for our team. we need the military not only for protection but also to identify problems. he identified certain problems. i have to give general allen and his team credit. nobody likes an inspector general, particularly an independent inspector general.
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it is little prickly relationship we have with everybody, but general allen always took all of our reports seriously and did what we identified. i'm happy and i wish him all the best in his next hour. host: that's the headline in the baltimore sun. general john allen in the picture as well resigning course stepping down from that post. jeff in edison, hooters, democrat -- in edison, new jersey. caller: i have a friend from long island and her son has done
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three deployments in afghanistan. what was told to me and also what was given to congressman king in new york about this was that the magazines that the soldiers are using in afghanistan are jamming and putting their lives at risk. and congressman king from new york has been evading that particular question. and they are using the vietnam era magazine. it is jamming. again, they're putting their soldiers at risk. host: john sopko? guest: i have not heard anything about that allegation. if we do have allegations about the equipment are u.s. troops
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are doing, i would send that to the dod ig. i do reconstruction during the actual fighting, the dod and ig, that is their responsibility. i'm certain they will look into that if there's a concern about the weapons that are u.s. troops are using. i would be looking at the weapons that are supplied to the afghan military. host: mount vernon, new york, republican, jane. caller: good morning. this is my second call and i am nervous. moneyn't you stop the going in? the amount of money you cannot account for, subtract that from the amount that president karzai would be getting or whoever would be getting until they can account for the money themselves? you have people out there that are working and they're being paid, they should not be paid. just like in the united states.
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we don't get paid if we don't work. guest: good question. i cannot control the money. i'm inspector general ervin. i can expose problems. we have exposed problems like that and have made recommendations that they should either' or not increase funding or lessen the funding for certain programs. we did a major audit on patrol in oils and lubricants. that sounds boring, but it's billions of dollars that we give and basically by purchasing petroleum, oil, and lubricants for the afghan national security forces. we took a look. we cannot find any justification for spending the amount. we definitely could not find justification for expanding the amount. we told congress to do it. ultimately cont, congress is the who can turn off the spigot. i can only recommend to congress. i highly recommend that the
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cholera and other callers go to our website and look at the quarterly report, look at those seven questions. if it resonates with them, if they are concerned about it, it gives you a good way forward. what we're basically saying is now is the time. we have the best opportunity in the world to improve the construction, but it is an opportunity for congress and the executive branch to stop and read think how we should proceed, particularly as security changes there. host: give us a successful story of a program. guest: i would like to say there are a lot of success stories. are some. if you look at the education system in afghanistan, if you look at the health system, it was in shambles. very few kids were going to 2002.l in 2001- a tremendous number of kids now going to school because of u.s.
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assistance and international assistance. and the girls are going to school. likewise with the medical system and health care system. it was in shambles. there was nothing going on. a lot of u.s. taxpayer dollars and international money and health care has improved. is there a long way to go? yes, but those are two success stories. those are a success because in many cases they answered -- they asked a question and answer them correctly. when you ask those questions and enter them correctly, you are more likely to succeed than to fail. host: john sopko, talking about the seven questions in the latest report. go to the website on your screen to get a better idea of the report and to dig into it yourself. the $87 billion authorized so far for rebuilding afghanistan. the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction, thanks for talking with our viewers. guest: my pleasure. host: washington journal will